Saturday, May 17, 2008

Obama Bucks

I keep thinking about this post by Stoller, where he lays out just how much Obama has changed American electoral politics in this cycle. I've been saying all along that the story is not the horserace, but the turnout. Which of these centrist Democrats got the nomination didn't matter that much. What matters is the composition of the Congress. Rather than engaging in pie fights, we should be looking down ticket

Fourlegsgood remarked last night in comments on how well Noriega is doing against Cornyn in the Texas Senate race. Light bulb!

One of the questions Matt raises in the post above is what Obama is going to do with his massive fundraising capability.

One email from Moveon to their full list can bring in between $100k to $1M for a candidate, with $1M being the very top end of the range. With one good email to his list, in a few months, Obama will probably be able to bring in $1-3M for a Senate candidate under attack or split that among several. 10-20% of the money going to Senate candidates this cycle might come from Barack Obama's internet operation. Stunning.

I say what Obama will do is support freshman challengers. The only Democrat playing defense in the Senate this cycle is Landrieu in Louisiana. The netroots claims credit for narrow wins like Tester's in Montana. Obama will be able to much more credibly claim credit for Senate and House seats he targets, just because of the sheer quantity of cash he can deliver. He also, following Dean's lead, has adopted his own 50 state strategy that can be used in support of candidates like Noriega, LaRocco and Begich. is the cornerstone of the campaign, and it will have between 10-15 million opt-in members by election day. This group can be used for lobbying on legislation, GOTV, and donations. It's a cross between and the DNC, and with the White House, it can transform progressive politics and further amplify the power of the Presidency. As coordinated campaigns pick up, and the top of the ticket brings coattails, organizing power is going to further flow to the Obama campaign.

This is a game-changing situation, coming at a pushmi-pullyu moment in the Republican party,. Looking at MS-01 (a 28 point swing), they want to run away from Bush, but can't create any space between them. McCain is flipping as hard as he can, but he's still attached.

Obama's bucks, and Obama's field represent very big coattails. And all those freshman will have a big chit in their pocket that says "Obama."